Nature is the Best Lighting School: An Interview with DP Matthias Koenigswieser
Lights Film School is one of those awesome internet resources that doesn't get enough props for its content. Even though they offer various paid iterations of their online filmmaking program, Lights still has copious amounts of free educational content on their blog, and it's all top-notch. Recently, they sat down with acclaimed music video cinematographer Matthias Koenigswieser to chat about everything from gaining representation as a DP to his theories on lighting. Read on for some of the best tidbits from this fantastic interview:
First, here's Koenigswieser's reel:
Something which we haven't covered much here at No Film School is the importance of finding representation as a DP. Oftentimes, networking and putting yourself out there can only get you so far in terms of finding steady work. That's where having an agent comes into play.
Producers often send requests to various agencies looking for DP's, and the agents will send the appropriate projects to the appropriate DP's. In this way, the agency is able to bring you work that is suited to you and that would have been unbeknownst to you otherwise.
But how does one find representation, especially in a world so overcrowded with visual content? Here's what Koenigswieser had to say:
Agents are always on the look out. You can find them at film festivals/commercial and music video industry screenings. Do good work. Show your work. And they will come knocking.
An important lesson I learned in the first years starting out is that YOU are your best agent. A positive attitude and being easy to work with has a massive impact of how your career will shape up. Be social and network but don’t force it at any time. At the end of the day it’s your work that needs to speak for itself.
Here are a couple of the impressive music videos that Koenigswieser shot recently:
Here is Koenigswieser on lighting for mood and atmosphere, and how to train your eye for lighting:
Atmosphere and lighting go hand in hand for me. I feel it makes everything more natural and relatable. In nature as well as interiors you have a different atmosphere all the time which in turn makes for a certain mood. Different weather conditions, light in different countries and continents, a variety of street light on a clear night, fog or rain. Smokey interiors, and open window next to the ocean and a setting sun. The varieties are endless and the best lighting school is nature.
The best lighting advice I've heard is that we should always study natural light with a critical eye so that we may learn to recreate its subtle complexities in beautiful ways. Koenigswieser echoes that sentiment to the teeth. Finding your unique cinematographic voice is dependent on knowing light inside and out, which is itself dependent on how you perceive the light which is inherent to our world.
Be sure to head on over to the Lights Film School blog to check out the rest of this fantastic interview.
What do you guys think? Do you have representation as a DP? If so, how did that come about? What are your theories on learning how to light? Let us know in the comments!